Crispy Deep-Fried Flounder

Golden brown fried flounder with lemon and parley on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 16 mins
Total: 31 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1347 Calories
120g Fat
37g Carbs
32g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1347
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 120g 154%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 103mg 34%
Sodium 968mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 218mg 17%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 545mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This simple deep-fried fish recipe is dipped in buttermilk and then coated with a combination of a store-bought biscuit baking mix, along with cornmeal. In this recipe, flounder fillets are deep-fried to perfection and the crispy coating provides a crunchy texture and allows the fish to stay moist and flavorful. 

Flounder is a thin and flaky, delicate fish with a rather sweet seafood-like flavor that happens to also be low in mercury and affordable, too. Because the fillets are usually quite thin, it is often stuffed, rolled, and baked. Flounder is actually a flatfish from the order Pleuronectiformes, which means fish that have both eyes on the same side of their head. Any fish caught off the U.S. coast and labeled "sole" is actually a flounder. If for some reason you can't find flounder, which is pretty widely available at grocery stores, sole is a good substitute.

Fried food is by nature simple, and needs little embellishment or accompaniments. Serve it with your favorite coleslaw and homemade french fries. Make sure to dip it in tartar sauce.


  • 8 fillets flounder

  • 2 cups whole milk, or buttermilk

  • 1 cup pancake mix, or biscuit baking mix

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • 3 cups oil, for deep-frying

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

  • Parsley sprigs, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 200 F, to keep fried fish warm while frying subsequent batches.

    Ingredients for deep-fried flounder recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  2. Place the flounder fillets in a shallow baking dish; pour in enough milk or buttermilk to cover the fillets. Set aside.

    Flounder and milk in a rectangular baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the pancake mix or baking mix and cornmeal; stir to blend.

    Cornmeal and pancake mix combined in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  4. In a deep heavy skillet or sauté pan, heat about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil to 365 F (185 C). If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, toss a 1-inch cube of bread into the hot oil. It should turn golden brown in 1 minute.

    Oil in skillet with a thermometer inserted in the oil

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  5. Drain the fish using a colander.

    Fish fillets in a metal colander

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  6. Dredge each piece in the baking mix and cornmeal mixture, coating the fillets thoroughly on both sides. Shake off any excess.

    Fillets dredged in breading in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  7. Add the fish fillets to hot oil and fry.

    Two breaded fillets in bubbling oil in the skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  8. Turn once after about 2 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on both sides (about 4 minutes total). Fry a few at a time to keep the oil temperature from dropping. If the temperature drops significantly and does not recover quickly, the coating will absorb more oil.

    Golden brown fillets in bubbling oil in the skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  9. Drain the flounder fillets on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt, to taste.

    Fried flounder fillets on a plate lined with paper towels

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  10. Transfer the fried fish to a rack in a baking pan and keep warm in the preheated oven for up to 20 minutes, if desired.

    Flounder fillets in a single layer on a wire rack over a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  11. Serve fried flounder hot, garnished with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs, if desired.

    Golden brown breaded flounder fillets garnished with a lemon and parsley

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

How Do You Make Fried Fish So It's Not Soggy?

There are a few factors that can contribute to soggy fried fish.

  • Sometimes, if the fish doesn't fry properly it won't get as crispy as you'd like, and so it can become soggy. This can happen if the oil isn't hot enough, to begin with or you crowd it when you are frying the pieces of fish—which can reduce the oil temperature.
  • Draining the fried fish on paper towels helps, and so does transferring it to the oven rack, as we've indicated here, to keep the fish warm. It also happens to allow air to circulate around the fish as it cools, which helps prevent sogginess.


  • Quick Tartar Sauce: In a small bowl combine 3/4 cup of mayonnaise with 4 tablespoons of finely chopped sweet (bread and butter) pickles or sweet pickle relish and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix well to blend ingredients. Cover and chill until serving time.

Recipe Variation

  • If you don't have a pancake or biscuit baking mix, substitute 1 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Thoroughly cut in 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold butter or shortening with a pastry blender or your fingers.